Wrapping up this non-Collab month has turned into creepy horror with lesbian themes–perfect as this is exactly the kind of thing that happens organically as part of the blog collab. This week’s film takes us from the humid streets of Brazil to the frigid landscape of Norway.
After moving to an Oslo university from small-town Norway, the titular Thelma begins to experience seizures that come with an ominous twist.
As a child, Thelma’s father takes her out hunting in the woods that surround their small Norwegian hometown. It isn’t long before family bonding time becomes sinister as Thelma’s father points out a deer…then turns to raise the rifle at the back of his daughter’s head. Why? Just wait approximately 119 minutes and you’ll find out.
12 years later, Thelma finds university life in Oslo jarring after years of small-town, religious upbringing. Thelma sees her parents as stern but loving even though she has memories of her hand being held over an open flame and is afraid of uttering “Jesus Satan” lest she offend the rather Old Testament God of her parents.
Thelma keeps to herself and spends many of her days studying quietly in the library. That is, until the day she is sitting next to gorgeous fellow student Anja one moment and in the midst of a seizure the next. Thelma keeps her medical issues a secret from her parents, though she gives doctors access to her medical records as they try to find the cause of her seizures.
Despite the challenges piling up for Thelma, she does manage to befriend Anja. However, Thelma finds it rather unsettling when she seems to telepathically summon Anja over in the middle of the night and almost takes out several rows of theatergoers with her mind. When the two share a romantic moment, Thelma panics and immediately severs ties with Anja.
Thelma joins a gospel choir, goes to parties with a boy, and pretty much tries to pray the gay away. As Thelma suffers another seizure under observation, Anja suddenly disappears. The psychiatrist diagnoses Thelma with non-epileptic seizures, which are physical manifestations of her mental suppression. No shit, dude.
As the memories flood back about the disappearance of her younger brother, Thelma realizes she caused Anja to vanish. Returning home to ensure she doesn’t hurt anyone else, Thelma confesses all to her parents. Her parents are oddly nonplussed and agree to help rid her of the seizures and their unintended consequences. Things start off on the wrong foot after Thelma’s parents lace her tea with a sedative–a pretty severe breach of teatime etiquette.
Is history repeating itself all over again? And will Thelma manage to satisfyingly Carrie her horrible parents before they brainwash her completely?
3.5/5 Pink Panther Heads
This is a slow burn, and I really wish this hadn’t been marketed as a horror film. Though it is haunting, the story is driven by its coming of age plotline and family drama rather than the supernatural elements.
However, I do love the very moody tone and the use of Thelma’s seizures to represent the suppression of her romantic feelings for Anja and her power as she becomes an adult independent from her parents.
After this review, I’ll most likely sign off until 2019. See you when the Blog Collab returns for year 4?!?!?!?!?!!? I can’t promise Christmas ’19 will be a festive one on the blog, but I can say quite confidently that we won’t serve you any tea containing sedatives without your consent.
Cheers to the dumpster fire that was 2018 being (nearly) over.